How many times a day do you find yourself using the word “should”? ADDers are full of “should’s”: I should do the dishes, I should clean out the fridge, I should see that movie, I should call my friend, etc. The word “should” can be very dangerous to an adult with ADD, because it often results in guilt.
In order to break through this and help you prioritize the things that you “should” do, try exploring your “should’s” by asking yourself the following question:
Is this a necessity, a desire, or guilt? Here are some examples:
I should do my taxes.
Necessity: If you don’t do your taxes, you can find your finances slipping out of control. You can end up owing the government penalty fees. And you will absolutely have undue stress. This “should” is a necessity.
I should buy that CD.
Desire: This is something that you want to make you happy. You like the music you hear, and therefore you want to own it. This “should” is a desire.
I should clean my house more often.
Guilt: If the “should” comes when you compare yourself to others, then guilt is probably involved. It often happens when we feel like we are not living up to the performance or expectations of others (or our perceived performance/expectations of others.) If you visit a friend’s house and its neat and clean, you may falsely interpret this to mean that your friend cleans all the time. In reality, your friend may have spent hours cleaning her/his house before you arrived to make it look nice! If you are physically and mentally comfortable with the amount of time you spend cleaning your house, then cleaning more often is not a necessity, it’s not a desire, its a “should” that is just useless guilt!
Try this exercise for a whole day. Every time you find yourself using the word “should,” ask yourself if its a necessity, desire, or guilt. I promise that you’ll feel a lot a better about all the things you think you “should” be doing!